Arka Bokshi reports on his recent attendance of the MIT-hosted workshop, and subsequent prize win:
I had the opportunity to present at the US/EU Transport Task Force Workshop, hosted by MIT between April 28 – May 1, in Salem USA. The objective of these meetings is to help move towards the development of physics-based predictive models to anticipate the performance of future burning fusion reactors such as Iter.
The focus of my talk was the development of a new theoretical model at York, which could potentially provide a physics basis for replacing unacceptably large and deleterious plasma eruptions with advantageous, benign ones.
Theories have identified two distinct classes of plasma micro-instabilities: one that is gentle and always accessible, and another that is violent but generally inaccessible. Our model proposes that the gentle micro-instability sets the level of edge plasma transport (therefore the size of the fusion reactor), whereas transitions between the gentle and violent plasma micro-instabilities under certain critical conditions (before the even bigger macro-scale Ideal-MHD plasma eruptions are triggered) would determine the intermittent bursts of enhanced plasma transport observed in all present fusion devices. The big Ideal-MHD eruptions would erode plasma facing materials, whereas the smaller eruptions caused by micro-instability transitions could help keep the plasma clean by flushing impurities while maintaining steady-state.
This work was acknowledged by the conference executive committee with a second prize in the student presentation category.